Pemberley Press, March2004, 23.95, 266 pp.
In New York City in 1888, there are many newspapers competing for the largest audience and very few female reporters working as journalists. Widow Diane Spaulding is one of the select few. She needs her job on the independent Intelligence, so says nothing when assigned to dig up a scandal on horror writer Damon Bathory who is on a tour giving readings from his latest book. When they meet for the very first time, both acknowledge an attraction neither wants but cannot deny
Diana, reeling from the betrayals of her late husband, is determined to keep their relationship on a business level especially when his boss tells her that in three cities that he gave readings, critics who panned him were murdered. With the help of her husband's former acting troupe, Todd's Touring Thespians, Diana is able to follow him up to Maine where he lives and see what secrets he is keeping from her. That decision puts her life in danger and the only one who can save her is the man she loves but does not trust.
Diana Spaulding is a descendant of Susanna Appleton, star of Kathy Lynn Emerson's Elizabethan series; and she has many of the Face Down protagonist's traits like stubbornness, independence and the determination to get the job done no matter what the price. DEADLIER THAN THE PEN is the first installment in what looks to be another great historical mystery series. Ms. Emerson's sense of place and the complexity of her characters make this novel standout in the crowded bookshelves.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner